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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations; U.S. Beef

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0059/01 0140918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140918Z JAN 10
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3120
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9625
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1009

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000059

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/P, EAP/PD - THOMAS HAMM
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS; U.S. BEEF
IMPORTS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage January 14 on the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti
Tuesday; on Google's threat to quit China Tuesday; and on the
year-end five city and county magistrate elections in Taiwan.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed China's testing of its missile
defense system Monday and its connection to U.S.-China-Taiwan
relations and the Ma administration's cross-Strait policy. The
article urged the Ma administration not to keep quiet when it comes
to issues concerning Taiwan's sovereignty and the Taiwan-centric
awareness. A "China Times" column discussed Secretary Clinton's
remarks on U.S.-China relations made during her flight to Asia. The
article said U.S.-China relations will surely "go off the rails"
because China regards the differences it has with the United States
as being about its "core interests." With regard to the U.S. beef
issue, an op-ed in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" said the beef debacle will teach President Ma a lesson about
"being humble and listen to the voice of the public." End summary.


3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

A) "The Ma Administration Must Not Surrender Its Right of Speech to
Others"

Wang Chien-chuang, former president of "China Times," wrote in a
column in the KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 120,000]
(1/14):

"... Chinese officials claimed that its anti-missile test [this
time] was not targeting anyone. But judging from the fact that the
People's Liberation Army has never publicized its missile tests and
yet it was making much ado about it by announcing it to the world
this time, it is clear to everyone that the move was aimed at the
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan -- a sure move to 'show its sword' in
protest [against the U.S. arms sales]. In fact, since Beijing and
Washington established diplomatic ties in the 1970s, whenever
Washington decided to sell weapons to Taiwan, Chinese officials have
always responded to it based on an SOP that has been used for many
years, to which Washington has long gotten used to. Yet the extent
and intensity of China's reaction this time somehow has kept
Washington on its tenterhooks.

"The reasons are that while no one knows yet how the disturbance
caused by the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will end, [U.S. President
Barack] Obama will soon meet with the Dalai Lama. Within just one
month, Washington will have twice stepped on the red line drawn by
China and encroached upon China's core interests. [It appears that]
Washington has made it very clear that it does not care about China
at all. Even if Hu Jintao can tolerate that, it will be difficult
to control the public opinion [in China] which shows mounting
nationalist sentiment. Besides, Washington now has a favor to ask
of China -- it needs China's assistance on issues like North Korea
and Iran, and when it comes to the U.S. economy, the White House has
to look upon China for signs of approval. ...

"A friend of mine recently made a thought-provoking observation:
"The Ma administration said its cross-Strait policy is three No's --
no unification, no independence, and no use of force. But actually
it is four No's -- 'no talk' should be added.' No talk about what?
[Ma] does not talk about any topics that may enrage China, including
the Tiananmen Square massacre, Liu Xiaobo, [Taiwan's] sovereignty,
and so on. ... No matter how many weapons Washington will sell
Taiwan, it will not change the asymmetrical military buildups on
both sides of the Strait. But always responding to [what the other
side has to say] is a tool that Taiwan must not give up in the
asymmetrical war of 'saying' across the Taiwan Strait. ..."

B) "China-U.S. Differences Will Surely Go off the Rails"

The "International Lookout" column in the KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 120,000] wrote (1/14):

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in response to a
journalist's enquiry on her flight eastward: 'What I'm expecting is
that we actually are having a mature relationship, which will be
consistent with the remarks by the two state leaders in their summit
about constructing a positive, cooperative and comprehensive
relationship. That means that it doesn't go off the rails when we
have differences of opinion.' ... But such thinking is totally
different from that of China's. In Obama's and Clinton's opinion,
these issues are just different in the ways people perceive them,
and that both sides can 'seek a common ground while maintaining
differences' if they are really interested in working with each
other. ...

"However, for China, it is a totally different story. Beijing
IMPORTS

believes that these are all China's 'core interests,' and what
Washington does will endanger China's core interests. [For China,]
bilateral cooperation must not endanger its core interests, and
since national unification is [one of] its core interests, the
above-mentioned [differences] have hindered its national
unification. ..."

4. U.S. Beef Imports

"Beef Debacle Teaches Ma a Lesson"

DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (1/14):

"After two months of maneuvers by the ruling and opposition parties,
the US beef affair has finally been brought to a close. The passage
of a legal amendment banning imports of certain beef products from
countries with a history of mad cow disease can be seen as a
declaration of a new era of independence for the legislature, and a
strong vote of no confidence in President Ma Ying-jeou. Ma must
learn to be humble and listen to the voice of the public instead of
being blinded by his ever-more-absolute powers. He must realize that
the US beef issue, and that of the proposed cross-strait economic
cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), have at least symbolic
implications for Taiwan's sovereignty, and we cannot allow that to
be compromised through deals behind closed doors. The US beef affair
should be a revelation for the Ma administration as it proceeds with
preparations for an ECFA."

STANTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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